By Sydney Keller
Pittsburgh Current Intern
Imagine a complete stranger knowing about a secret tattoo that not even your own mother knows about. Or, imagine someone correctly guessing the gender of your unborn baby.
When it comes to mind readers and mentalists, a lot of the public can be pretty skeptical. But if you get the chance to see Mark Toland’s show, “Mind Reader” at Liberty Magic through Aug. 4, you may find yourself becoming skeptical of your skepticism.
Toland has been traveling nationally and internationally for a decade now and believes that his fascination with theater, performance and magic is what made him want to become a mind reader.
“I was always into the more psychological side of magic,” Toland says. Toland says his interest in psychology, detective work, theater and performance all come together in his shows. “I really think being a mind reader is a combination of all those things.”
Toland’s show focuses primarily on mystery to the extent that when the audience leaves, they must keep the show’s secret in order for the mystery to continue.
“My real love is mystery and my goal is to insert mystery back into people’s lives,” Toland says. “I wanna give people that feeling of not knowing. Where they have to leave and be comfortable with the idea that they’re never going to know, they’re never going to have an answer and to reconcile with that.”
Toland says the show is completely different each night because each show depends on the audience. The only way to find out what the show is about is to come and experience the mystery at Liberty Magic for themselves.
“I think of the audience as the cast of the show,” Toland says. “Their thoughts are my props, their minds are my stage.”
Each night the audience is amazed because Toland will read their thoughts.
“Connections,” Toland says is his favorite part about being a mind reader. He says he’s passionate about how, for an 80-minute show, a group of people in a room can connect without using their phones and just engage with one another.
“It’s just a wonderful thing,” Toland says. “I absolutely love that…being able to connect with people on a human level. I am just lucky enough to do it with so many people every night.
“It’s kind of what I live for more than anything.”